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Citadel Files Pre-Arranged Bankruptcy Plan

LAS VEGAS — The long-awaited rumors of Citadel Broadcasting’s “pre-arranged bankruptcy” plan are now reality.  Several sources are reporting the company — which owns 224 stations, including 4 in Syracuse — officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning.

Locally, Citadel owns rocker 95X (WAQX), contemporary 93Q (WNTQ), adult contemporary Lite Rock 105.9 (WLTI) and WNSS, which is currently branded as ESPN Radio 1260 — a brand that will disappear in March, when Galaxy Communications assumes the market’s ESPN affiliation.  (There’s been no announcement yet from Citadel as to plans for WNSS.)

Citadel first announced the high likelihood of a Chapter 11 filing in its quarterly SEC report last month.  According to the Associated Press, Citadel’s total assets as of October 30 were valued at $1.4 billion, but the company was carrying debts totaling $2.46 billion.

Most of the articles we’ve seen attribute to a Wall Street Journal report (subscription required) which explains the “pre-arranged” bankruptcy will reduce Citadel’s debt load to $762.5 million.  In exchange, major creditors will be granted equity in the reorganized company.  Most reports indicate that CEO Farid Suleman will remain in charge of the company.

Citadel has issued a press release with complete details of today’s filing.  No word yet on how the Chapter 11 filing could impact individual markets or stations, including those in Syracuse.

At the close of the trading day on Friday, Citadel’s over-the-counter stock (CTDB.OB) closed at 1.6¢ per share.

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